BMC inspection of Kamala Mills reveals gross illegalities

Kamala Mills

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), in its inspection of the Kamala Mills Compound premises, has found gross illegalities, including rampant FSI misuse, and amalgamation and alterations without permission in many units. The final report of the inspection, carried out jointly with the State Industries Department, will be ready in a month.

The fire in Mojo’s Bistro and 1Above restaurants inside the compound on December 29 last year claimed 14 lives. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta submitted a detailed report to the CM with recommendations to prevent a relapse of such an incident. One of the recommendations was a thorough inspection of the compound for FSI violations.

At the time of redevelopment, Kamala Mills Compound was given an incentive FSI of 1.33 over and above the zonal FSI, since it opted for development of Information Technology and IT-enabled services. The developers were allowed extra FSI only if they used 80% of it for IT purposes, with only 20% area allowed for commercial use.

Based on Ajoy Mehta’s recommendations, the BMC formed teams of officers from the Building Proposal Department, G South ward and experts. The teams inspected the premises in November, along with officials from the Industries Department. While the BMC is looking at FSI and construction violations, the Industries Department is looking at the change of use (IT to non-IT).

The officers are now tabulating the data. “There are instances of FSI violations where non-FSI components have been used for construction,” Vinod Chithore, director (engineering services and projects), who is heading the committee, said. In building plans, certain areas are kept free of FSI, where no construction is allowed. This includes common passages, compulsory open space, flower beds and parapets. Many such areas, mostly common passages, were found to be encroached upon in Kamala Mills.

The BMC has also found amalgamation and alteration — changes to the premises contrary to the approved building plans — without permission. “Once the tabulation is done, we will submit the report to the additional commissioner and municipal commissioner in around one month. After that, inspection reports will be made and notices will be issued,” Chithore said. The teams have also found non-conformity to the IT use, but that is the purview of the Industries Department.

The inspection is separate from the action taken against irregularities in the compound soon after the incident. Besides, ahead of the anniversary of the fire, the BMC has carried out inspections and removed illegal structures. This week, civic officials will patrol the party areas of Lower Parel and Worli at night.

Source: The Hindu

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